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Behavior of Management, Supervisors Critical in Reinforcing Ethics

July 5, 2007

(July 9, 2007)  Employed adults ranked the behavior of management and direct supervisors as the top two factors contributing to the promotion of an ethical workplace, according to a new survey by audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory firm Deloitte & Touche USA.

Behavior of top management was cited by 42 percent of respondents to the 2007 Deloitte & Touche USA Ethics & Workplace Survey, while actions of direct supervisors were chosen by 36 percent. Ranked below those two were positive enforcement of ethical behavior, compensation, behavior of peers, ethics training and criminal penalties for violations.

“In order to encourage high ethical standards within our organizations, we first have to provide an environment that is conducive to ethical behavior,” said Sharon L. Allen, chair of the board of directors at Deloitte & Touche, USA, in a press release about the study. “However, management and leadership have a huge responsibility in setting examples for their organizations and living the values they preach if they want to sustain a culture of ethics.”

Balancing Work and Life

The survey also found that work-life balance affects ethical behavior as well. More than nine in 10 respondents (91 percent) agreed that workers are more likely to behave ethically at work when they have a good work-life balance. A combined 44 percent of workers cited high levels of stress (28 percent), long hours (25 percent) and inflexible schedule (13 percent) as the causes of conflict between their work responsibilities and personal priorities—contributors to work-life imbalance. 

Sixty percent of employed adults surveyed think that job dissatisfaction is a leading reason why people make unethical decisions at work, and more than half of workers (55 percent) ranked a flexible work schedule among the top two factors leading to job satisfaction, second only to compensation (63 percent)

“While the survey looked at only workers in the for-profit sector, the findings are still relevant for the nonprofit sector,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “Issues such as stress, work-life balance and management behavior are all critical issues within our sector, and this survey gives charities some ideas on how to address these challenges.”

AFP’s 2007 Compensation and Benefits Study found that 83 percent of respondents were “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their fundraising career. Approximately one quarter of respondents said they had considered leaving their job because of frustrations with their current work environment. More information about AFP's 2007 Compensation and Benefits Study can be found on the AFP website (members only; login required).

A recent AFP Audioconference focused on the issue of work-life balance. “Ask—for Yourself! How an Effective Life Plan Can Benefit You Professionally, Financially and In Every Way You Deserve,” was held on May 16, and fundraisers can order the materials presented at the Audioconference, including a tape of the event, by clicking here.

The full report is available online free of charge at the Deloitte & Touche USA website.

The 2007 Deloitte & Touche USA Ethics & Workplace Survey was conducted by Harris Interactive® LLP between Feb. 20 and Feb. 22, 2007, among 1,041 U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older who are employed full time or part time. The sampling error was plus or minus 5 percent.

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